My work is increasingly bringing me into conversations with clients with long histories, stories of loss and grief, loneliness and dissociation, trauma, and now as adults – they deal with the ongoing complexity of things like pain, anxiety, insomnia, digestive issues, and more.
And I love working with these people one on one, because the commitment and honesty I see from them is inspiring. To reconnect after years of neglect or pain, into the body, coming home to Self – It is often a rocky path that I’m glad to support. We celebrate a joyous homecoming. A new way of being with Self – which inevitably means a new way of being out in the world, and in relationship.
Enter: Interoception, Embodiment and Body Intelligence
Our bodies and brains are wildly intelligent – And we are wild animals by nature.
We are built for survival and sometimes our stories, experiences and ideas take up residence in our body and mind in ways that cannot be undone by thinking or talking. We’d be living on a different planet if we could so easily ‘change’.
Movement is continually proven as a healing modality for many.
I believe in the power of Embodiment Practice as therapy.
Ask yourself these questions:
Can you focus your mind enough to feel your body, period?
Can you trust what you feel and be with it?
And know how to best care for your body’s feedback, sensations, needs?
Or do we just ‘think about’ or ‘talk to’ our body – Like a client today…
When asked to ‘check in’ and feel what she felt, her first responses were that she told herself to ‘stand up’ and ‘head up’ and ‘get my feet grounded’. This is an example of a top-down communication hierarchy – we are telling our body what needs to be done instead of simply feeling what we feel.
We are constantly busy instead of being.
How can we be present with ourselves and our moment to moment sensation?
I asked her to do the same ‘check in’ again, this time with the utmost clarity that she didn’t need to (or get to) DO anything. I asked her to sense and feel what she felt in the present moment.
When she opened her eyes again, she said she could feel her breath moving through her ribs and belly on one side. She said she noticed a tingly sensation in her hands, like her arms had a nice flow of energy in them to her fingers.
“Yes, well done,” I told her. She told me about what she sensed with a smile on her face and seemed calmer. We carried on through her session with that quality of settling into being, noticing moment to moment what her body was learning as we moved – and what her body was teaching her.
This fundamental relationship with our Self – our BodyMind (yes, they are entwined, interconnected) – to me, is essential for our wellbeing and survival, our happiness, our emotional resilience, our spirituality.
New research even shows that interoception (the ability to witness our own sensations moment to moment in the body) helps stimulate our relaxation response.
It triggers a sense of safety when we can bring our awareness home.
Practice being with yourself – actually pause your thoughts long enough in order to sense what you sense. Discern what you feel. Shush your mind and drop into an experience within your own beautiful body.
Be grateful for this useful skill, as it will serve you well daily, and surely for a lifetime.